By Jill Richardson
Kuna Melba News reporter
In 1984, Ms. Kate Berrett of Melba went to spend the day with her dad, Sid Proesch, a WW II Army veteran, at the Veteran’s Hospital and watched as Miss Idaho and Idaho Governor John Evans proudly handed out Valentines cookies to all the veterans.
Kate spent the whole day with her dad that day, he passed away that night.
Seeing the kindness of Miss Idaho and the governor, and how much those gifts meant to the men, Kate decided to join in the baking and make Valentines cookies each year as well.
Beginning the very next year, in 1985, Kate made about 24 dozen heart shaped frosted sugar cookies for the Veteran’s Hospital and Veteran’s Home for Valentine’s Day.
She has baked those cookies every year for the past 28 years.
“Some years they are fancier than others,” recalled Kate. “Sometimes I’ll write on each one.”
This year’s cookies have white frosting with red sprinkles.
Over the years, more people have joined in the cause and reduced how many Kate bakes to “only” about 12 dozen each year.
Kate has always baked the cookies from scratch, “No short cuts,” she says.
She has gone through three stoves and wore out two mixers over the years.
When the cookies are baked and frosted, Kate delivers them up to Melba’s Rosie Peck or Connie Evans to be delivered to the veterans.
George Kirkland used to deliver them until he passed away and the girls took over.
Kate has never missed a year of making those cookies; she has needed help once when she was sick.
“It was close but I made it with some help,” said Kate.
A few other years she was offered help from 4-H kids and the Relief Society.
“We had some pretty colorful cookies the year the kids helped,” laughed Kate.
“The year I had open heart surgery, I made the cookies before the surgery,” said Kate. “So I made it that year too.”
Again this year Kate, at 80 years young, has lovingly baked 12 dozen cookies and took them up for the girls to deliver.
The total cookie count adds up to over 600 dozen cookies sent to the veterans from Kate’s kitchen.